The first major retrospective of the 20th Century designer who revolutionized the American home followed Wright’s career from his early experience as a theatrical set designer to furnishings and dinnerware to his highly influential “Guide to Easier Living,” a textbook for increased domestic efficiency. The challenge was to create an environment that was evocative of Wright’s spirit and emphasize the domestic nature of his work. Visitors were greeted by a large table set with nearly the complete range of Wright’s many dinnerware lines, surrounded by reproductions of line art drawings commissioned by Wright to illustrate his ideas on informal yet gracious meals. Each adjacent room was treated as a distinct place, chronologically presenting a phase in Wright’s career. Exhibition graphics took their cue from the “Guide to Easier Living” with banks of color and illustrations used contextually, while case-work incorporated plastic laminate and Micarta – both materials Wright championed. As Wright was one of the first designers to have his signature grace the back of dinnerware pieces designed for manufacturers, it was only fitting that the show’s banner signage be his mark, writ large over wood paneled Victorian walls.
Sandra Wheeler (Principal in Charge, Matter Practice), Alicia Cheng, Yve Ludwig (Exhibition Graphics, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum), Donald Albrecht (Curator)
Anita Jorgensen Lighting Design
Scott Wilhelme (Production Manager Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum)